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Padmore-Johnson, Cardinal defense too much for Cougars

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Sep 25, 2020

Nick Smith (9) picks his way through the Spring Mills defense for a touchdown. The game was held at Spring Mills High School, ending in a 28-52 loss for the Cougars. David Pennock

MARTINSBURG — There are no redshirt seasons seen in high school football.

If a player is injured and can’t participate, he misses the entire season and can only hope to have another year or two left to enjoy his youthful days.

At unbeaten Spring Mills, quarterback Keon Padmore-Johnson suffered a knee injury just before the 2019 season was at hand. He couldn’t play, when the Cardinals rode into the state’s Class AAA playoffs and won a game for the first time in the seven years of new-school history.

Here in 2020, Padmore-Johnson has returned to health and to the end zone. He led Spring Mills as it defeated Jefferson, 52-28, to boost its record to 3-0, while leaving the Cougars at 1-2 overall.

After accounting for seven touchdowns in a season-opening win over Washington and another six more in a runaway victory against Hampshire, the still-elusive senior ran and passed for 311 yards of total offense in downing the visiting Cougars.

Jefferson sophomore receiver, Spencer Powell (23) breaks away from the Spring Mills defense on a pass reception. David Pennock

The red-clad Cardinals scored with their first possession, when Padmore-Johnson threw 12 yards to Bernard Newman. And they had built a 24-7 lead by halftime when kicking specialist Hayden Pack pounded home a 44-yard field goal with only seven seconds remaining before halftime.

After blunting Jefferson’s first drive of the last half, the Cardinals had two more scores on short blasts to assume a more substantial 38-7 lead.

By that point in the second half, Spring Mills had permitted very little to the pass-hungry Jefferson offense — stopping five consecutive possessions without ceding any more points.

In accounting for 28 second-half points, Spring Mills got its last two scores on a Padmore-Johnson TD pass of 38 yards to James Hunter and Jake McCarren’s 54-yard touchdown return of a short Jefferson kickoff following a score that somewhat lightened its deficit to 45-21.

Jefferson’s scores were counted by Nathan Muhle, two on passes by Spencer Powell and Evan Tewell. Sammy Roberts connected with Powell on both scoring passes as well as on Muhle’s score.

The Jefferson defense had trouble all night long in controlling the Spring Mills rushing game, but Karter Schroyer (15), Nathan Muhle (45) and Drake Sims (78) combine to contain a Spring Mills receiver. David Pennock

While it was crafting its 38-7 lead, the Cardinal defense was busily hurrying Roberts, hitting him while he was struggling to pass and in general pressuring the Cougars for the middle two quarters.

Padmore-Johnson had accounted for four more touchdowns and had made life miserable for the Cougars.

No redshirts in high school. But red-clad points, yardage, wins and opponent’s headaches when Padmore-Johnson recovered from his knee injury and eagerly clamored back on to the playing field.